Emotional Reunion: Convicted murderer walks free after 34 years

Local News

WRIGHTSVILLE, Ark.- Friday a 72-year-old convicted murderer walked out of the Hawkins Unit in Wrightsville a free woman.

Willie Mae Harris was convicted of murdering her husband and sentenced to life in prison 34 years ago.

Governor Asa Hutchinson commuted Willie and Friday morning Willie’s daughters picked her up and took her home.

“Okay everybody the moment is here, we are standing outside this prison and my mom is getting ready to walk out this door any minute now,” said Silvia Jackson Harris, Daughter of Willie, “If he can take a life sentence from my momma and let her walk out this door today- you can’t tell me what my God can do.”

Emotions started flowing as the countdown to Willie Mae Harris’ freedom crept closer, after 34 years, 11 months and 25 days.

“Oh my God, she’s free y’all. My momma is free,” said Silvia.

Willie’s daughter Mellowne can be seen in a video giving her mom the first hug. Mellowne was only five when Willie was convinced.

“It was like a dream come true, I’ve been wanting this for so long,” said Mellowne Armstrong, Daughter of Willie.

Then you can see Willie’s oldest daughter Silvia jumping in and hugging her mom. Silvia was just a teenager the last time her mother was free.

“I’ve been waiting so long, I never gave up hope though, I never gave up hope,” said Willie Mae Harris, Commuted by Governor Hutchinson.

Willie Mae Harris has spent nearly half her life in prison after being convicted of murdering her husband Clyde back in 1985.

A crime she’s denied doing for 30 years.

“I was a young woman that didn’t stand a chance and I was able to rise above all the hurdles in life,” said Willie.

Willie still has more hurdles to jump as she re-learns the world after three decades and completely blind.

However she said with the help of her family anything is possible.

“We are going to change this thing baby, yeah,” said Willie.

Willie and her daughters are heading back to Dallas where the family is having a large gathering this weekend and she will bring her new life as a free woman.

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